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Child support agreements

North Carolina parents who are divorcing will likely have to deal with the issue of child support during the proceedings. They can choose to work with one another and come to an agreement, take part in alternative dispute resolution proceedings or litigate the issue with the judge making the final determination.

Parents can use informal negotiations to resolve all of their child support issues, such as payment amount, how often the payments should be made and for how long. Their negotiations can take place with or without legal representation. Many parents may choose to let their attorneys negotiate for them. Other parents may prefer to negotiate on their own and only consult an attorney before they finalize an agreement.

The process of negotiation may vary from case to case. However, the desired result in all cases is to have a written child support agreement. The agreement will then be submitted to the judge. Once it is approved, it will be made part of a court order.

Alternative dispute resolution proceedings include the use of mediation and collaborative law. ADR can be a useful tool for addressing child support issues, but the parents have to be willing to work together and compromise on key issues on which they disagree. ADR methods are generally less combative and more informal than traditional court settings and may lead to an early settlement. Parents will be able to have more of a say in important child support decisions.

If a parent reaches a child support accord after negotiations, it might be advisable to have the resulting agreement reviewed by an attorney before it is submitted to a judge. Since it will likely be rejected if it does not appear to be fair or if it varies significantly from state guidelines, an attorney can ensure that it is ready for submission.